Wow! May has just flown by. May is normally very important to the city to the south of me. It’s called “Memphis in May”. This year “Memphis in May” was boiled down to Beale Street Music Festival with bands and singers only the opening weekend and of course BBQ Festival at the Mid-End of May. The tickets to go to either of these events have always been hard to get, but this year they were extremely hard to find and expensive to the point of putting a person in debt to buy them. I didn’t even see any hype about the BBQ Contest which is just not normal. Winning the “Memphis in May” BBQ Championship used to mean something.
I remember a totally different “Memphis in May”. The ads would start in January. You would know who was coming for the Beale Street Music Festival by February. The cut date for the Food Contest which include Hamburger Masters and Hot Dog Eaters as well as BBQ Contest which included Ribs – Beef and Pork, Pulled Pork, Chicken, and Turkey Legs would be in Mid March. The games and other activities for the month are mapped out and widely advertised in April. Tickets are made and everything is gotten ready for “Memphis in May” in April.
The way it was – “Memphis in May” starts with a weekend filled with music called Beale Street Music Festival. You pay for a 1 or 2 day pass and get to enjoy Beale Street and the Great Concerts that come to play for the weekend. The second weekend is an art weekend that involves museum tours and tours through historic Memphis and on Sunday there is a showing of different forms of art in Tom Lee Park by the Grande Lady – The Mississippi River.
About the 15th of the month the Memphis of May BBQ Contests set up for the Big Competition, and on Friday of the third weekend they begin their fires and start their smokers to make the best BBQ in the world. It is normally set up in Tom Lee Park. On that Friday the people in the Food Contests have the day to practice before the competition on Saturday. You get to walk through and taste all the good food that is being prepared. You can get 1-3 day passes but you just can’t bring in your own food or drink. The competition would be on Saturday and the Awards would be on Sunday.
Since May has five weekends more often than not, we have a bike race and running marathons on the odd weekend. If there is no odd weekend then it would happen on the final weekend. On the Sunday of the last weekend, games and one-one contests are offered on Tom Lee Park leading up to an Symphony in the Park where you bring your blankets and coolers and wine/cheese and set upon the ground to let the music wash over you while the Mississippi rolls on by. Ending with a wonderful fireworks show over the Mississippi River done to a grand symphony.
I guess it really shows the times. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, people could get together and not have police guarding the outside. You could go to a park, sit on the ground, and listen to a symphony without having to worry about anything. Now, you can’t even go to a park without a gun or mace to defend yourself. It is really sad. It’s a really good thing that I know that God is in Charge of Everything, so I’m not worried. I just miss the old “Memphis in May”